May 22, 2008
Newsweek's newly released annual rankings of America's top high schools include six schools in the Long Beach Unified School District, a record high for the district. The annual list represents only the top 5 percent of all public high schools in the United States.
Joining the list of elite schools for the first time are Long Beach’s Millikan High School and Catalina Island’s Avalon High School. Returning to the list this year were Poly High School, Wilson Classical High School, Renaissance High School for the Arts, and the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS).
“We now have more than 60 percent of our high schools listed among the top 5 percent in the nation,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools. “That’s an extraordinary accomplishment for a large, urban school district. Whether our children live in the inner city, in the suburbs or on Catalina Island, they have great opportunities to prepare for college.”
To determine the rankings, Newsweek took the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests given at a school in 2007 and divided by the number of graduating seniors.
As of May 22 on Newsweek’s website, Wilson ranked 452 among 1,300 U.S. high schools – all of which are considered to be among the top 5 percent in the nation. Avalon ranked 494, CAMS ranked 576, Poly ranked 782, Renaissance ranked 1,001, and Millikan ranked 1,124.
The highly ranked Long Beach schools surpassed prestigious high schools in neighboring Orange County, including nearby Los Alamitos High School. Newsweek’s annual hard-copy magazine article on America’s top high schools is part of its May 26 edition now on newstands. The full listing of schools is part of a web exclusive now available at www.newsweek.com .
Newsweek has added a new statistic developed by the College Board that shows not only how many students take AP exams, but how well they perform on the exams. This Equity and Excellence (E&E) calculation is made by determining the percentage of all graduating seniors who had a least one score of 3 or above (out of 5) on at least one AP test sometime in high school. All LBUSD schools easily surpassed the 15.2 percent average achieved by all of the schools on Newsweek’s list. CAMS achieved a stunning
86.3 percent E&E. Poly achieved the next highest E&E among LBUSD schools, with a percentage of 29.7, followed closely by Wilson’s 28.3.
Record numbers of students in the Long Beach Unified School District have enrolled in Advanced Placement courses this year, helping them to earn college credit while still in high school, giving them a competitive edge and potentially saving their parents thousands of dollars on college tuition.
Advanced Placement enrollment numbers here show a 65 percent increase since 2003, with African American students’ participation increasing by 85 percent, and Latino students’ participation increasing by 90 percent. More than 50 percent of all students here are Latino.
During the past five years, LBUSD has reached out to hundreds of students who may not have initially considered themselves to be college material. The school district became one of the first to administer the PSAT to every 10th grader, testing their college potential and then placing them in summer workshops and specialized courses that strengthen reading, writing and study skills. This extra support builds students’ tenacity, helping them to believe in themselves and not be discouraged by difficult work. Many of these students will be the first in their families to go to college.
This school year, 4,281 students are enrolled in AP courses in the school district. That’s up from 2,589 in 2003.